Happy and Healthy Holidays

Happy and Healthy Holidays

Happy and Healthy Holidays

One of our company goals has always been to have an impact on our local community, just as we do nationally with our meal kits. As part of this, we provide free nutrition services to many populations in New Jersey. Our most recent series of events have been presentations at local senior centers all about healthy holiday habits. 
There’s a lot to love about the holiday season like the weather, gift-giving, spending time with loved ones, and of course the food! However, all of these can also create unwanted stress in a time that is supposed to be enjoyable. Long-term stress can have an unintended effect on appetite, weight, medical markers like blood sugar, and more.
An important part of living a life of longevity is eating nutritious food and the holiday season is not an exception to this philosophy. However, between both the enjoyment and stress of the holidays, it can be very difficult to ensure we’re meeting our health goals. So, let’s review 5 simple tips to make sure we’re making this holiday season as healthy and stress-free as possible!
Practice Mindful Eating
The first is mindful eating, which is a buzzword, but what does it actually mean? Put shortly, mindful eating is taking the time to acknowledge the food with all of your senses and really appreciate what you’re eating.

Sure the thanksgiving spread looks great, but how does it smell? How colorful is it? What positive emotions does Thanksgiving bring you? That’s all part of mindful eating.

It’s not that food becomes healthier when we take our time eating, but it does give us a better appreciation of what we’re eating. Additionally, by slowing things down and starting with a smaller plate, we give ourselves time to digest, which can help us accurately gauge hunger and prevent overeating

Plus, it’s the holidays. There are always leftovers, which means you can go back for seconds!

Avoid Skipping Meals

Some people go into a holiday thinking that since they’ll be eating a large meal later in the day, they can skip out on eating earlier. That’s actually the wrong approach if you want to have an enjoyable day! Not eating all day can cause low blood glucose. Even if you’re not a diabetic, low blood sugar can cause brain fog and irritability.

Eating at regular times helps keep your metabolism moving. Putting your body into a minor state of starvation by not eating actually slows your metabolism, which can cause unintended weight gain.

Additionally, have you ever tried to have a big meal after not eating all day? This can lead to stomach discomfort. 

Stay Active

Staying active causes your brain to produce compounds known as endorphins which improve mood and lower stress, but that’s not to say you have to go out for a run every morning. Any amount of activity is good for you. 10,000 steps is typically the number thrown around, but new research has indicated that even walking 7,000 steps per day is associated with improved health.

In addition to cardio, resistance training is an important part of fitness. This doesn’t necessarily mean lifting weights. Carrying shopping bags, light stretching, or chair yoga are all activities that help strengthen your muscles. As always, tailor any physical activity to your ability level and speak with your doctor before adding any new exercises to your routine.

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is an essential part of nutrition.  You need water to absorb certain vitamins and just keep everything running smoothly. Fluid can come from more than just water, however. Tea, juice, soup, fruit, and more all contribute to daily fluid intake. 

Drinking water also aids digestion and helps accurately judge hunger level. If your stomach is growling and you know you’re well-hydrated, that means that you truly are hungry.

Knowing how much fluid you drink throughout the day helps gauge hydration status, but so does checking the color of your urine. If you’re properly hydrated, your urine will be a pale yellow color.

Make Simple Swaps

Finally, look for ways you can make simple swaps in your favorite holiday recipes, especially our baked treats! There are some simple ones like using milk in place of cream or dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. There are also more unique ones, like using mashed bananas in place of eggs. We actually use this tip in our homemade oat waffle recipe

We’ll have a recipe coming out later this month with more healthy baking swaps, so keep an eye out!

As you can see, nothing on the above list is a radical change you need to make this holiday season. Having an enjoyable Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, or New Year’s celebration is as easy as staying mindful of your habits and adjusting where needed.
At N4L, we’re all about helping you achieve your ultimate health goals. If you’re feeling stressed about all the shopping and cooking you have planned this holiday season, consider looking at our Meal Plans or Produce Boxes to help make life easier. We also carry great gifts in our marketplace like our new Spice Blend Bundle, for the creative chef in your life!
Happy Holidays everyone!